Oneida (WSYR-TV) -- Madison County lawmakers are taking steps to ban all synthetic drugs. The sale of bath salts and synthetic marijuana has already been banned in New York State, but dealers are finding ways to skirt around the law.
Just because they’re legal, doesn’t mean synthetic drugs are not dangerous. Madison County lawmakers say it’s too easy for people to get their hands on them.
“You got people who are really unstable. We’ve had situations all over the area where innocent people are getting attacked, which makes it dangerous for everyone,” said City of Oneida Police Chief David Meeker.
Madison County is now dealing with the problem, head on, looking to pass a local law giving police more power to crack down on synthetic drug use. The proposal would make possessing synthetics a misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“If we can stop a third of the people from using this substance by doing that, I think we’ve done our job. Right now, our community is not safe. Law enforcement is not safe. We have to do something,” Chief Meeker said.
In Oneida County, they can get anywhere from two to 15 calls per day for people abusing bath salts. The problem is many are being sold legally at head shops.
“Once they get arrested a few times they’ll think twice. These places that are selling it won’t be able to supply people with it,” Chief Meeker continued.
Rome enacted a similar local law in April. Rome’s police chief says they’ve had a lot of success with the local law. Since April, he says they’ve busted a number of head shops for having synthetic drugs. He also says they’ve heard from a number of towns and cities who are interested in passing similar bans on synthetic drugs.